ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach will hold talks next week with U.S company Chevron Corp, which has just bought Anadarko, to discuss a shale gas and oil production partnership, Sonatrach’s CEO told Reuters on Tuesday.
A visit by Chevron executives to Algiers is the first public sign that foreign firms are shrugging off turmoil in the OPEC oil producer after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned this month following mass protests.
“Chevron is a big company and we are happy to have it here with us in Algeria as it will bring know-how and expertise,” Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour said in his office in Algiers.
Last week, Chevron said it would buy shale producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp for $33 billion, which is the biggest foreign firm in terms of oil output in Algeria with an estimated 260,000 barrels a day.
Algeria’s oil output is estimated at around 1 million barrels per day, and it produces 135 billion cubic meters of gas per year, according to Sonatrach’s figures.
Kaddour also said Sonatrach is still negotiating a trading joint venture with foreign firms, rejecting the notion that talks had stopped because of mass protests which have shaken Algeria since Feb. 22, demanding political change.
“No we are still negotiating, and we may have a deal soon,” he said, without giving a deadline.
In February, before the outbreak of unrest Kaddour said Sonatrach had shortlisted four firms, with one to be selected.
Kaddour also confirmed that Sonatrach did not bid for Hellenic Petroleum, one of the biggest refineries in Greece.
In March industry sources said talks between Exxon Mobil Corp and Algeria to develop a natural gas field in the North African country had stalled because of unrest.
Editing by Ulf Laessing and David Evans